Yesterday, Sunday, I was up early, husband had been working all night and was somewhere down in the South of England, my son was out stopping with a friend and after dropping my daughter off at work for 8.30am I was once again home alone, so as the sun was shining I put on my really awful pink trainers - hubby brought them cheap last year and they are just nasty and so damn comfortable! - first time this year that I haven't walked the dogs in welly boots and we went on our walk.
And saw no one!
I hadn't been home long when the phone rang. It was the husband. 'I have bad news', he said, obviously your first thought is 'he is in hospital' your second 'what has he done now'. So you skip a heart beat and he says something so much worse.
'You will have to go shopping I am not coming back until tomorrow'.
It doesn't get any worse than that.
Its probably prudent to say I don't shop. Ever. I hate it and am totally rubbish at it. You know when men are asked to wash up and they make such a hash of it that you don't ask again? I am like that with shopping, I have no idea what I am doing and wander aimlessly up and down the aisles and if the packaging is sparkly and attractive I stop if not I don't.
It is not good shopping practise.
I don't even clothes shop. Being a natural scruff my husband waits until even the dogs start complaining how I look and refusing to go on the walk with me before he drags me out to Sainsbury's (big supermarket here in the UK) on one of their many 25% off all clothes days and makes me buy new jeans and a couple of t'shirts.
In our house husband shops...and cooks...and I decorate and garden, it works well for us, until he gets caught up somewhere and I have to go shopping. We were out of dog food and down to the last tin of cat food. There was no cheese for sandwiches, or snacks or crisps, it was desperation time. Over the phone he gave me the list - I told you I was rubbish - of what we needed, name, make, brand and price, right down to whereabouts in the store I could find these things and if needed an alternative it that item wasn't in stock.
Bread - thick sliced
Frozen peas and corn - I was also cooking tea!
Crisps - 30 pack
Chocolate bars for pack lunch - 4 packets (my son eats a lot!)
Ham - £1.79
Cheese - mature chedar in the corner of the shop back left, bottom shelf 800g packet.
It was an interim list until he gets back to do the 'real' shop.
He wished me luck and told me to ring him when I got back. It was 11.50am.
I was back by 12.35.
So I washed my hands, changed my top that was covered in dog hair, dragged out my boots, got the shopping bags, car keys and purse and set off.
I had to fight for my car parking space. Really? on a Sunday? I had some lovely little old lady, who must have felt the waves of 'oh I hate this' coming off of me and out of my car, she stopped me to tell me there might be a space at the end if I was lucky. I have an enormous car! Its long and fairly wide, car parks are not built for big cars. I found a couple loading their shopping into the boot of their car and called out 'excuse me, are you leaving?' THREE times before they heard me! They were sweet and said yes, but now I had cars backing up to steal my found space. I put my indicator on and just about gave the chap enough room to get out and then did my best impression of a Formula 1 racing driver and swung the car into reverse and parked in one move. The wife was waiting for me with her trolley so I found the £1 coin in my pocket, the same £1 coin I had to borrow out of daughters bedroom as I don't have 'money' other than a credit card, and secured my space and my trolley.
I was on a roll.
'Its really busy in there' says the lovely wife.
I lock the car, smile nervously at the chap next to me now loading his shopping in the boot of his car and set off across the car park towards the shop with dread in my boots.
It was heaving with people and screaming kids.
Really REALLY don't want to be here.
Start cursing the husband under my breath.
I have my list clutched in my hand and with his words of where everything is echoing around my brain I try the polite way of smiling at people and saying excuse me.
Everyone ignores me. Trollies are coming at me in all directions, kids are running and screaming up and down the aisles, a couple are having an argument over buying something important and I am stood there like a twit with a polite smile, no nearer to the chocolate bars I can see on the bottom shelf, just behind that woman with the three kids, one of which is called Ben (like my son) and said child is running up and down grabbing stuff so the mum is trying to talk nicely to him to make him stop....I am not a believer in soft parenting, in my opinion it doesn't work. My kids were brought up with manners and respect, consequences for their actions and at 20 and 18 I am now immensely proud of them, they are well rounded, confident and capable adults, polite and caring.
But I digress.
Still with the smile on my face and looking decidedly like I have escaped from some hospital mental ward, I make my way slowly towards the coveted chocolate bars. I lean in and grab the 4 packets, the mum with the screaming Ben child is now telling him how to behave, he has that zoned out look on his face that means he isn't listening, she carries on anyway. I smile at the kid, he looks at me, we know he isn't going to behave.
I have one item on my list. Next stop bread. Its in front of me, on the big trolley thing as the shop assistant hasn't restocked the shelf. I grab it. Bread. Done.
Its been a while since I was last in this shop and everything has moved - hubby does take me once or twice a year for moments like this I need an understanding of the layout. I can't see the dog food, they have moved all pet stuff, I feel the slight panic starting in the pit of my stomach.
Good grief the cheese corner is like a scrum. How on earth do I get my cheese? I can see it, there are at least 4 trollies in front of it, all pointing in different ways, people everywhere, even a couple so relaxed they are stood in the middle of the shop chatting. I am sweating. I would rather enter a cave of lions that do the weekly shop.
I have the cheese. And the ham. Still no dog food.
I see the pet food, just one lady, no trolley in the way, I can do this.
Fish in jelly for Gordy...I actually choose for myself I had two cans in my hand and made a decision. Go me I am getting into this shopping lark. Dog food sack in trolley. I spot the cat litter, its not on the list. I was 43 last weekend, I can do this. Cat litter, not on the list, in the trolley.
Quick check of the list to the items in the trolley. I even have my snack nuts, I saw them and grabbed them. Now the tills. The lines of people...and still screaming kids...I get in a line and immediately hear my husband in my head..'this isn't the shortest one' Tough. I am in a queue and I am staying here until the end.
Just have to pay.
I always panic at this point. I rarely shop so I rarely pay and I always think 'what if I have forgotten the pin number?' I am sure I go pale and show signs of sweating. I just wait for the alarm bells to go off...everytime. But I remember the pin number and I am outta here.
Triumphant I go back to my car. I load the shopping in the boot. I set off to take the trolley back. There is a chap there, he has one trolley and is holding out a £1 towards me. I don't know what to do, he has a trolley, so like an idiot I point this out 'you have a trolley' I say 'yes' he says, 'but I want two'. I mumble something along the lines of 'fish out of water, husband shops he is away' grab the £1 and give him my trolley.
Back home in minutes. The complete trip has taken me just over 30 mins and I am shaking with nerves. My son is home at this point and he comes out to the car. 'Where have you been mother?' 'Shopping' I say, 'on your own?' he asks incredulously, 'Yes' I say, 'you should have waited' he says, 'I would have come with you'.
Bit late now son!
He makes me a cup of tea and I sit down quite exhausted from my travels. I ring the husband.
'I am never EVER doing that again'
Now I just have to cook tea later.